Sunday, May 15, 2011


JC is a drill master. In every play or musical in which he performs, he wants every line to be spoken by him, exactly as it was written.

Before learning the lines, quite often he'll reformat the script on his computer so that the lines, minus the stage instructions, make a page. He even arranges the page breaks so that his lines are not broken up.

Memorizing, he tackles a section; reading, re-reading many times before he goes into the "drill" mode. He makes a rehearsal tape on a hand-size, mini-cassette recorder. Drilling himself, he speaks each "line" aloud, then checks it on the tape. Then, he does the section again, with the taped voice at a low volume, but loud enough to hear any mistakes.

JC, the stickler, rehearses in his office. Then he moves into the studio (it's a small theater space), and works through the section again. Often he works upstairs, in our kitchen.

Right now, John's learning lines for two Shakespeare plays that are being rehearsed and staged in a 12 week rehearsal span -- "All's Well That Ends Well," and "Measure for Measure." If I didn't know him, I'd think he was obsessive, overly fussy, a fanatical stickler.

In every other kind of work, he's relaxed, happy-go-lucky, an easy-come, easy-go sort of guy. However, when he's memorizing lines, well ... I have to say John Cullum is "A nut!"


Lynne said...

Ah, every performer's nightmare---going up on lines . . . It's been proven that music helps things stick in the brain better, that's why we sing our alphabet. I sing more than act, and I find what helps me remember lyrics is to think of the rhyme scheme and the "logic" of the song, what JC would call the "intent."

Heather Mash said...

I love your Ems Talkery, think it reflects you, and who you are Em, which is delightful. J.C. is a wonderful sport and husband participating in this AIR aspect of the 'Talkery'. Seeing the two of you, work together gives me a smile because you are both so genuine in your sharing of whatever you are focused on sharing together. The improvisational visit discussion is amazing, the opening, middle, closing remarks work charmingly in to a gift wrapped for your visitors online. Emily, all of your productions, conversations/or talk topics, reflect a strong, energetic, creatively thinking individual who loves fun, people, and a need for risk taking within the areas you feel comfortable. Variety, laughter, fun, caring and opening yourself up to what others think about things makes your EM talkery, "AIR" or discussions questions that you've given a great deal of thought to all seem easy, when they're not easy they're lots of work. You are inspiring others to think in ways they've never experienced before, people you don't know, will never know but will make a difference for them. Thank you, EM. for inviting us all into EM's world, it's a nurturing, informative funny place to visit. xxxxoooo Heather

Linda Phillips said...

What is a Sunday without my weekly fix of Em and JC?

Just too cute (and also very interesting) !

You put a big smile on my face! Thank you Cullums!



Alex Johnson said...

Nuts?! Nuts are perfect, just as nature intended.

Alex Johnson